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Cogent observation on a common game design failing
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
"Videogames do a thing that no other industry does. You cannot be bad at watching a movie. You cannot be bad at listening to an album. But you can be bad at playing a videogame, and the videogame will punish you and deny you access to the rest of the videogame." My pedant-side wants to argue with him, but he's funny, and mostly correct.

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This is not a failing!

Videogames do a thing no other industry does. You cannot be good at watching a movie. You cannot be good at listening to an album. But you can be good at playing a game, and feel rewarded for acquiring and perpetrating competence.

Actually, you *can* be good at experiencing "non-interactive" sorts of media. You can have a better understanding of the genre roots, the literary techniques the author uses, and other such things, than the average person does. Assuming it's well-made media, however, you don't *have* to have that deep engagement and prior knowledge to enjoy the work.

It is absolutely true that acquiring game skill is rewarding. But it doesn't have to be *required* for games which also contain other rewards.

Your last point seems especially salient when I have recently played a game in which I talked the end boss into killing himself.

I bet Chris Avellone was on the writing team of that one. Love his work!

(If I'm wrong, let me know, because if I haven't played whatever you're talking about, I probably should :)

however, you don't *have* to have that deep engagement and prior knowledge to enjoy the work.

Apropos, my usenet sig quotes james_nicoll: "I don't mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface."

That one has long been in my file of random quotes as well.

Is there a transcript of that video anywhere?

I see the point, and agree that one of the appeals of games is the sense of accomplishment. But (as I mentioned recently on another blog) I don't have good reflexes, and am not happy that the vast majority of commercial games I hear of require them. Which is why it's been about 20 years since I've spent any money on a computer game.

Back when the genre was new, I played a few games on my computer, before consoles were common.

I found the annoyance of getting stuck to outweigh the joy of playing. When you consider that I must lay out about $200 dollars or so in equipment and a game (or more) for the possibility of enjoyment...

When you consider that I must lay out about $200 dollars or so in equipment and a game (or more) for the possibility of enjoyment...

Any interest in free games that play in your browser? Jay is Games (jayisgames_com) reviews 4-5 of them every weekday (and non-broswer games and demos on the weekends); it's a major timesink source of entertainment for me.

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